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Forecasters predict respite from the heat

After a run of hot temperatures, cool weather and thunderstorms are expected to reach Spokane and Coeur d’Alene by Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

While the weather outlook is improving, however, smoke from wildfires and high temperatures have combined to worsen air quality throughout Central and Eastern Washington.

Fine particles in smoke can cause respiratory problems. Persons with asthma and respiratory illnesses are particularly at risk, according to the Washington Department of Ecology.

“Right now, there isn’t much air movement to clean out the smoke and other pollution. It looks like that’s going to continue for a few days, with some improved circulation starting Thursday,” Clint Bowman, a meteorologist with Ecology’s Air Quality Program, said in a news release.

State officials have advised those at risk, including children and the elderly, to spend less time outdoors. State officials asked residents to observe burn bans and other measures to reduce pollution.

As for the weather, the forecast for today calls for a high of 96 in Spokane and 93 in Coeur d’Alene. The temperature will gradually decrease Wednesday while a new system pushes in cooler air.

The high for Thursday is forecast at 81 in Spokane and 79 in Coeur d’Alene, just a few degrees below normal for this time of year, said National Weather Service meteorologist Robin Fox.

“Whenever we get the ridge of high pressure breaking down, we either get wind or thunderstorms. Right now we are calling for both,” she said.

The chance for thunderstorms is 40 percent in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene on Thursday with lows in the mid-50s.

Friday should be even cooler, with a high in Spokane of 74 and in Coeur d’Alene of 71. The chance of rain persists throughout the weekend with temperatures inching back up to the low 80s for Saturday and Sunday.